11:32 AM
Apr 12, 2018
 |  BC Extra  |  Politics & Policy

National Academies recommend reforms to support new researchers

In response to a request from Congress to investigate policies affecting the next generation of researchers in the U.S., the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine called for Congress, NIH, and public and private institutions to enact reforms that could strengthen the country's biomedical research system to support the careers of new scientists.

A report published by the National Academies noted declines in research funding, available research positions and training for young scientists, and an absence of shared responsibility and data have decreased the U.S.'s share of the global biomedical research enterprise. The report proposed increasing NIH's budget to support new scientists and expanding public and private job options.

The group recommended that Congress and NIH create or expand existing entrepreneurial and private-sector opportunities for new scientists. It proposed that Congress revise the Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer program to encourage entrepreneurship among next generation biomedical scientists, women and minorities. The group also said Congress should enact an employment tax credit for R&D firms hiring new doctorates.

Recommendations to NIH include creating or expanding existing awards for postdoctoral researchers. The report said research institutions and NIH should increase the number of individuals in staff scientist positions in order to provide non-faculty research opportunities and develop mechanisms to facilitate training and career guidance.

The National Academies suggested that Congress establish a public-private Biomedical Research Enterprise Council to collect and analyze data and promote plans for career development. Biomedical research institutions should collect and analyze data on career opportunities as a mandatory requirement to receive additional NIH funding, the report said.

The group advocated for increased responsibility by public and private stakeholders to improve the biomedical research landscape and increase policy experimentation and investment.

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